Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I have a problem. Ok, only one I’m going to get into right now.

I want (Need? Want? Need.) to buy a cruising sailboat to live on with my wife. I’ve been thinking this for a while. Years, even. Not quite since we got back from our earlier 8 months in the Caribbean in 2007, but close. I’ve been on a few boats with a purchasing eye. In San Francisco we even sailed on a boat that could be a good candidate, an S2 11A. I’ve recently fell in love with an Allmand 35. From some interneting, I’m getting the impression that they are somewhat like a sturdier Catalina, which sounds perfect to me.

I think 35’ is my optimal length boat. I’d like a boat with a wide stern, at least some part open, so water can drain out of the cockpit in a hurry. I’d like a pretty big fin keel, with a skeg for the rudder. Some sort of V in the hull to make waves a little gentler on the boat. I’d like some kind of aft cabin, for myself and the missus. Sleeping in the V berth sucks any time the water isn’t flat. Maybe we (I) would get used to it? A wide quarter-berth would probably suffice. On my first Caribbean trip we squeezed 2 of us in a normal quarter-berth, for a few days. I like the interior design of a Sabre 386. A center cockpit could be a way to get these things, I’m not sure. It’s kinda hard to fit a center cockpit on a boat under 40 feet, I think. Some boats have done it (S2 11C, Irwin, and others). I’d like a sealed anchor locker. I’d like a cockpit just long enough for a 6-foot guy to sleep in. I’d like a cutter rig. I’d like a tiller, for simplicity, but I could be persuaded by the right boat to overlook that.

I’d like new electronics, because the pace of change is so rapid. Actually, I’d probably like to run my own electronics. Fish finder (for depth), chartplotter, knot-meter, wind-speed. Screens 5 years old would probably irritate me for being outdated. The computer game generation and all. Of course a decent galley, nice gimbaled stove, counter space. I’m not sure about the fridge. If it’s there already, obviously I’ll take it. If there is just an icebox, perhaps I’d just add some more insulation and keep it as an icebox. Perhaps get an Engel freezer for meat and ice. I plan to eat like the locals. I’d like a composting toilet, not a marine head. I’d like no water heater, no pressure water. A foot pump for fresh and salt water at each sink. Definitely no AC. Definitely no generator. I’d like a big battery bank, charged by PV, wind turbine, engine, and shore power. Honestly, I’d be ok with a 20-30 horse outboard and eliminate the inboard engine. I could use the storage space. I don’t know how I’d make the outboard system work, but I could probably figure something out. Maybe I could ask Volkscruiser, Atom Voyages, or any of a ton of other knowledgeable folks. All LED lighting.

Most existing boats have more things and systems than I want (microwave, water maker, water heater, water pressure, AC, holding tank, macerator, the list goes on). I don’t want to pay for crap I’m not going to use. This leads me towards looking at boats that are in pretty rough shape.

I like Volkscruiser’s theory that a boat should be ready to go to sea (albeit without many modern conveniences (crutches?)) for roughly $1,000/foot LOA. Of course I’d like to find a boat that is already fitted out just the way I want, with good quality workmanship, for the price I want to pay. But, since I’d rather have stout rigging, stiff hull, and dependable components than designer cushions and space in my cockpit for a party or a race crew, I haven’t been able to find a boat like that yet. I think an Allmand 35 comes pretty close, if it’s well taken care of. Any boat, if it’s well taken care of, is probably better than any boat that’s been neglected.

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